Behemoth, Amazon Rising:

Behemoth, Amazon Rising: Power and Seduction in the Age of Amazon

Amazon is the most extraordinary business story of our time. In 25 years, it’s become a $386 billion multi-sector giant; within a few years, it will likely be the biggest company in America. Behemoth, Amazon Rising explains how Amazon built five interlocking rings: logistics, Amazon Prime, the Amazon Marketplace, everyday low pricing, and constant innovation. Those rings together create a moat that’s now too deep to scale around Amazon’s retail empire.

Behemoth has three sections: Part I looks at the basics: the power of Prime, the leverage generated by Amazon’s huge logistics network, the ruthless pricing,  the extraordinary power of Amazon’s Marketplace, and Amazon’s innovation machine – which underpins every part of the company.

Part II looks at the impact of Amazon beyond retail markets. It explains why Amazon is an existential threat to brands. It analyzes the extraordinary rise but limited strategic importance of Amazon Web Services. And it looks in detail at the dark side of Amazon – how warehouse workers, drivers, and white-collar workers are exploited, and why Amazon is trying to eliminate jobs while hiring hundreds of thousands more to fuel is extraordinary growth.

Part III looks to the future. What will Amazon be like in 2031? Behemoth offers some projections of Amazon’s accelerating growth. Will Amazon go the same way as previous retail innovators like the department stores and Sears. Well, no, it won’t. Amazon will be dominant and it will stay dominant in US retail.

But Amazon is not just any company. It’s brilliant, agile, cold, efficient, amoral, incredibly innovative, secretive, scary, seductive. It’s entirely customer-obsessed – which is great for customers, but not necessarily for producers. And there is no end to Amazon’s ambitions, as it marches into logistics, cloud services, publishing, groceries, entertainment, healthcare, and much more.

That relentless growth will test us profoundly. Behemoth, Amazon Rising describes those challenges and shows how to handle them – if we are smart, committed, and prepared to match Amazon’s long-term perspective with an equally bold vision of our own. 

Critics have called for the breakup of Amazon because it’s too big, too powerful, and too dangerous. The problems are real, but the solution is not. Antitrust takes too long, it won’t change Amazon enough, and it is a static solution to a dynamic problem.

Instead, we need to use the power of sunlight, corporate transparency, and open data to drive Amazon’s actions and their consequences out from behind the wall of corporate secrecy.  Behemoth shows how we can do this. That would profoundly and permanently transform the environment and the constraints within which Amazon operates.